THE STORY OF RUSTAM AND SHAGHAD
The tale of Rustam's slaying I present
In mine own words but based on document.
There was an ancient man, hight Azad Sarv,
Who erst lived with Ahmad, Sahl's son, at Marv.
A paladin in form and face was he,
And storied in the royal legendry.
His head was full of speech, his heart of lore,
His tongue of phrases of the days of yore.
From Stim, the son of Nariman, he drew
His line and many a fight of Rustam's know.
What I received from him I will rehearse,
And interweave it, word with word, in verse.
If in this Wayside Inn I still shall bide,
With mind and wisdom acting as my guide,
I will complete this story of the past,
And then on earth my record too will last.
In his name then who hath made earth his own -
Mahmud, that glory of the crown and throne,
Lord of Iran, Turan, and Hind, through whom
The world hath grown to be like silk of Min!
He lavisheth his treasures which will be
Replenished by his fame and policy,
And he is mighty and in future ages
Will live upon the lips of all the sages.
The world is full of his memorials -
Wars, bounties, buntings, lore and festivals -
But they among mankind are blest the most,
Who look upon his crown, his court, and host.
Mine ears and feet begin to fail at length;
Old age and want have robbed me of my strength;
Misfortune hath so fettered me that I
Mourn stress of years and evil destiny;
Yet am I ever instant in the praise
Of our just world-lord all my nights and days,
And all the folk are one with me in that,
Though faithless and malign, for since he sat
Upon the royal throne he hath subdued,
The hand of evil and the gate of feud,
Restraining him that doth presumptuously,
However overweening he may be,
While bountifully largessing the sage
That heedeth the prescriptions of his age.
I raise him in this world a monument,
Which, while men live, shall be still evident
In this my story of the Shahs of old,
Of bygone horsemen and the great and bold,
Compact of feast and fight, of ancient lore
And rede, of many a gest of days of yore,
Of knowledge, Faith, of scruple and advice,
And guidance furthermore to Paradise.
Of all the things that earn our monarch's praise,
The things of ehiefest profit in his clays,
This best will serve to keep his memory rife,
And live as part and parcel of his life,
And I am hoping.to live too till I
Receive his gold that, when I come to die,
I too may leave my monument with things .
Drawn from the treasury of the king of kings.
And now I turn back to the words of Sarv,
The Light of Sahl, son of Mahan, at Marv.
How Rustam went to Kabul on behalf of his Brother Shaghad
Thus saith the ancient sage, that storied man
Of parts and eloquence:- Behind Zal's curtains
There dwelt a slave - a harpist and reciter -
And this handmaiden bore to him a son
As radiant as the moon, a horseman Sam
In form and aspect, and a cause of joy
To all that noble house. The astrologers
And men of science - chosen cavaliers
Both from Kabul and from Kashmir, alike
The worshippers of God and of the Fire -
Went with their Ruman tables in their hands,
And each one took the aspect of the sky
As to its favour toward the little child.
The gazers found a portent in the stars,
And looked at one another. Then they said
To Zal, the son of Sam, the cavalier:-
"O thou remembered by the stars of heaven!
We have explored the secret of the sky
'Tis unpropitious to this little child,
For when this pretty infant shall grow up,
And reach the days of strength and hardihood,
He will destroy the family of Sam,
The son of Nariman, and wreck their sway.
Through him Sistan will be fulfilled with uproar,
Iran embroiled, and all folks' days embittered,
But afterward his tarriance will be brief."
Zal, son of Sam, was grieved thereat, invoked
The Judge of all, and prayed: "O Guide of men,
Sustainer of the turning sky, my Refuge
And Stay in everything, who showest me
What rede to follow and what way to go,
And madest heaven and the stars withal,
Have we misdoubted of such excellence?
Be ours contentment, rest, and happiness."
The chieftain gave his son the name of Shaghad.
He kept the child till he was weaned and grew
Observant, full of charm, and talkative;
Then, when the boy was growing strong of limb,
Dispatched him to the monarch of Kabul.
Now when Shaghad became a lofty Cypress
In height, a horseman puissant with the lasso
And mace, that potentate took note of him,
Esteemed him fit for royal crown and throne,
Rejoiced to look on him and on account
Of his high birth bestowed on him a daughter,
And with that noble daughter sent besides
Fit presents from the spacious treasury,
And guarded him, as he were some fresh apple,
That ill might not befall him from the stars.
The nobles of Iran and Hindustan.
Had much to say of Rustam, for he took
An ox-skin full of money from Kabul
Each year as tribute, wherefore when the king
Had made Shaghad his son-in-law he thought
That Rustam of Zabul would heed no more
The money from that time; so when 'twas due,
And taken as before, Kabulistan
Was deeply moved. His brother's conduct vexed
Shaghad who spake not of it publicly,
But told the king in private: "I am weary
Of this world's doings. I can not respect
A brother who hath no regard for me.
Not recking whether he be wise or mad,
An elder brother or an alien,
Let us concert a plan of snaring him,
And win us in the world a name thereby."
They plotted till they soared above the moon
In their imaginations. Hear the sage:-
The The evil that men do they live to rue."
One night until the sun rose o'er the mountains
Sleep came not to the twain, and thus they said:-
"We will destroy his glory in the world,
And fill the heart and eyes of Zal with tears."
Shaghad said to the monarch of Kabul:-
"If we would do full justice to our scheme
Prepare a festival, invite the nobles,
And call for wine and harp and minstrelsy.
While we are in our cups speak coldly to me,
And then insult me. I, dishonoured thus,
Will set forth for Zabulistan, complain
About the monarch of Kabulistan
Before my brother and before my sire,
And call thee both discourteous and ill-natured.
Then Rustam will be wroth on mine account,
And come to our famed city. Then do thou
Select upon his route a hunting-ground,
And there dig divers pitfalls large enough
To, take both him and Rakhsh, and plant long swords,
With spears and blades of steel with double edges,
The handles downward and the points erect,
About the bottoms of the pits. Of these .
It will be better to make ten than five
If thou desirest to be freed from care.
Employ a hundred cunning workmen, dig
The pits, and keep the secret from the wind;
Then make the surface good and hold thy peace."
The monarch went, put prudence from his mind,
And made a feast as that insensate said,
Invited great and small throughout Kabul,
And seated them before a well-spread board.
When they had eaten they prepared for revel,
Arid called for wino and harp and minstrelsy.
Now when folks' Beads were flown with royal wine
Shaghad designedly grew insolent,
And spake thus to the monarch of Kabul:-
"I am exalted over all the folk;
With Rustam for my brother, Zal for father,
What nobler strain can any one possess? "
The king seemed wroth and said: "Why do I keep
This matter so long hidden? Thou art not
By race from Sam, the son of Nariman,
And neither Rustam's brother nor his kin.
Zal, son of Sam, hath never mentioned thee;
How then shall such an one be called thy brother?
Thou art slave-born, a menial at his gate,
And Rustam's mother would not own thy claim."
Shaghad, as angered at the monarch's words,
Departed in a passion to Zabul
With certain of Kabul in company,
Revenge at heart and sighs upon his lips.
He reached his glorious father's court, his heart
All machination and his head all vengeance.
Zal at the instant that he saw his son,
So tall and stately, with such Grace divine
And thews received him kindly, questioned him,
And sent him on to Rustam presently.
That paladin rejoiced at seeing him,
To see him sage and of an ardent soul,
And said to him: "The seed of Sam, the Lion,
Produceth only strong and valiant men.
How do things stand betwixt Kabul and thee?
What doth he say of Rustam of Zabul? "
Shaghad replied: "Nay, speak not of the king.
He used to treat me kindly and to bless me
Whene'er he saw me; now he seeketh a quarrel
Against me in his cups and holdeth high
His head o'er all. He humbled me in public,
And showed his evil bent. He said to me:-
'How long shall we submit to pay this tribute?
Are we unable to resist Sistan?
Henceforth I will not mention Rustam; I
Am equal to him both in strength and parts.'
He further said: 'Thou art no son of Zal,
Or if thou art so he himself is naught.'
My heart was pained because of those chiefs present,
And so with pallid cheeks I left Kabul."
When Rustam heard it he was wroth, and said:-
"No matter lieth hidden for all time.
Have no more thought of him or of his realm,
And may his crown and sovereignty both perish.
I will destroy him for his words and wring
His heart and eyes, will scat thee on his throne
In joy, and lay in dust his head and fortune."
He entertained Shaghad for many days,
Assigned a stately palace for his use,
And from his array chose the fittest men -
Those famed in battle-bidding them prepare
To leave Zabul and occupy Kabul.
When all was ready, and the paladin
Freed from anxiety, Shaghad approached
That man of war, and said: "Think not of fighting
The monarch of Kabul. Were I to limn
Thy name on water rnerely none would rest
Or slumber there, for who would venture forth
To strive with thee, or who abide thy coming?
Sure am I that the monarch is repentant,
That he would fain atone for my departure,
And even now is sending from Kabul
Picked chiefs in numbers to apologise."
Then Rustam answered him: "That is the way.
Against Kabul I need no host of men;
Zawara with a hundred cavalry
And infantry of name will do for me."
How the King of Kabul dug Pits in the Hunting-ground
and how Rustam and Zawara fell therein
Now when ill-starred Shaghad had left Kabul
The monarch hurried to the hunting-ground,
And took a hundred sappers, men of note
Among the troops. They honeycombed the chase
With pits, arranging them beneath the rides,
And in them set haft-downward hunting-spears,
Swords, double-headed darts, and scimitars,
And made a shift to mask the openings
That neither man nor eye of beast might see them.
When Rustam had set forward in all haste
Shaghad dispatched a rapid post to say
"The elephantine hero hath come forth
Without an army. Come to him and ask
To be forgiven."
The monarch of Kabul,
Pleas on his tongue and poison in his soul,
Came from the city and, on seeing Rustam,
Alighted from his steed, advanced a-foot,
Took off the Indian turban that he wore,
And clasped his naked head between his hands,
Drew off his boots and in his deep abasement
Made his eyelashes drip with his heart's blood.
He laid his cheeks upon the dusty ground,
Excusing his behaviour to Shaghad,
And saying: "If thy slave was drunk or crazy,
And seemed rebellious in his senselessness,
Vouchsafe to pardon this offence of mine,
And let me be anew as once I was."
Bare-footed, dust on head, his heart all guile,
He went before the chief, who pardoned him
His fault, increased his standing, bade him cover
His head and feet, mount saddle, and proceed.
There was hard by the city of Kabul
A pleasant, fertile spot with wood and water,
And there they willingly encamped. The king
Provided provand lavishly and furnished
A pleasant banquet-house, brought wine, called minstrels,
And placed the chiefs on royal thrones. Thereafter
He spake to Rustam thus: "When thou wouldst hunt
I have a district where on plain and hill
Game throngeth. Wild sheep, onager, gazelle
Fill all the waste. One with a speedy steed
Will capture there gazelle and onager;
One should not overlook that pleasant place."
Now Rustam grew excited at his talk
Of watered plain, of onager, and game,
For, when one's fate approacheth, anything
Will lead the heart wrong and pervert the mind.
This whirling world of ours behaveth thus,
And will not make its secrets known to us.
The crocodile in water, pard on land,
And battle-braving Lion deft of hand,
Are in death's clutch no less than ant and fly;
To tarry here transcendeth subtlety.
He bade to saddle the steeds and fill the waste
With hawks and falcons, cased his royal bow,
And rode out to the plain, he and Shaghad.
Zawara too was of the company,
And many another of their noble friends.
The retinue were scattered in the chase,
But all to quarters where no pits wore digged,
While Rustam and Zawara took the path
Among the pits because Fate willed it so.
Rakhsh sniffed fresh earth, spun like a ball, and shied,
Suspicious of the smell, and tore the ground
To pieces with his iron shoes. Howbeit
That fleet steed picked his steps right warily
So as to make his way between two pits;
But Rustam's heart was filled with wrath at Rakhsh,
And fortune veiled discretion from his eyes.
He raised his hunting-whip and in his dudgeon
Lashed Rakhsh though lightly and thus flurried him
Just as, environed by the pits, he sought
To 'scape Fate's clutch. Two of his feet went through;
He had no purchase; all below was spear
And sword; no pluck availed; escape was none;
And so the haunches of the mighty Rakhsh,
And Rustam's legs and bosom, were impaled;
Yet in his manhood he uplifted him,
And from the bottom bravely gained the brim.
How Rustam slew Shaghad and died
When Rustam wounded as he was looked forth,
And saw the hostile visage of Shaghad,
He recognised the author of the plot,
And that the traitor was his foe, and said:-
"0 man of black and evil destiny!
Thine action hath laid waste a prosperous land;
But thou shalt yet repent thee of this thing,
Writhe for this wrong, and never see old age."
The vile Shaghad replied: "The wheel of heaven
Hath dealt with thee aright. For what a while
Hast thou engaged in bloodshed, strife, and pillage
On all sides ! Now thy life shall end, and thou
Shalt perish in the toils of Ahriman."
With that the monarch of Kabul came up
Upon his way toward the chase, beheld
The elephantine warrior thus wounded,
With all his wounds unbound, and said to him:-
"0 thou illustrious leader of the host
What hath befallen thee on the hunting-field?
I will depart forthwith, bring hither leeches,
And weep in tears of blood on thine account;
No need to weep though if thou art made whole."
But matchless Rustam answered: "Crafty villain!
The time for leech is passed. Weep no blood-drops
For me. Though thou liv'st long the end will come;
None can evade the sky. My Grace divine
Surpasseth not Jamshid's, and he was sawn
Asunder by a foe, or Faridun's,
Or Kai Kubad's - those mighty, high-born Shahs -
And when had come the time of Siyawush
Gurwi, the son of Zira, cut his throat.
Kings of Iran and Lions in the fight
Were they, and they have gone. We have outstayed them,
And loitered like great lions on our way;
But Faramarz my son - mine Eye - will come
And will require my vengeance at thy hands."
He said to foul Shaghad: "Since such an ill
Hath come on me unease my bow for me,
And let it serve as mine interpreter.
String it and lay it by me with two arrows.
It is not fit that lions on the prowl,
And coming on the plain in quest of quarry,
Shall see me fallen here and sorely wounded,
For evil will betide me, and my bow
Will stay their rending me alive. My time
Is come, I lay my body in the dust."
Shaghad drew near, uncased the bow, and strung it.
He drew it once, then laid it down by Rustam,
And laughed exulting at his brother's death.
The matchless hero clutched it lustily,
Though tortured by the anguish of his wounds,
What while Shughad in terror at those arrows
Made haste to shield himself behind a tree -
An ancient plane still boughed and leaved but hollow -
And there behind it skulked the miscreant.
When Rustam saw this he put forth his hands,
Sore wounded as he was, and loosed a shaft.
He pinned his brother and the tree together,
And gladdened in the article of death.
Shaghad, when he was stricken, cried out " Ah ! "
But Rustam had not left him time to suffer,
And cried: "Now God be praised, and I have known Him
Through all my years, that even when my soul
Hath reached my lips day hath not turned to night
O'er my revenge, but He hath given me strength
Before my death to wreak me on this traitor."
He spake, his soul departed from his body,
And all the folk bewailed him bitterly.
Within another pit Zawara died;
Remained no horseman high or low beside?
How Zal received News of the Slaying of Rustam and
Zawara, and how Faramarz brought their Coffins and set
them in the Charnel-house
One of those noble cavaliers escaped,
And made his way on horseback and a-foot.
When he had reached Zabulistan he said:-
"The mighty Elephant is with the dust,
So are Zawara and the escort too,
And not another horseman hath escaped!"
Rose from Zabulistan a cry against
The foe and monarch of Kabulistan,
Zal scattered dust upon his shoulders, tore
His breast and face, and cried: "Alas! alas!
Thou elephantine hero! would that I
Were in my winding-sheet! Zawara too,
That noble warrior, that valiant Dragon,
That famous Lion! Luckless, cursed Shaghad
Hath dug up by the roots that royal Tree.
Who could imagine that a wretched Fox
Would meditate revenge in yonder land
Upon a Lion? Who can call to mind
Such a misfortune, who could bear to hear
From his instructor that a Lion like Rustam
I1ad died in dust and through a fox's words?
Why died I not before them wretchedly?
Why am I left as their memorial?
Why need I life and fame now that the seed
Of me, the son of Sam, hash been uprooted?
0 chieftain! lion-taker! hero ! lord!
0 man of valour and world-conqueror !"
He sent an army under Faramarz
Against the monarch of Kabul forthwith,
To gather those slain bodies from the dust,
And give the world good cause for sorrowing.
When Faramarz arrived before Kabul
He found no man of name within the city.
They all had fled, the people were in tears,
And seared with grief for world-subduing Rustam.
Then Farimarz went to the hunting-ground -
The plain wherein the pitfalls had been dug.
He ordered that a stretcher should be brought,
And to lay out thereon that noble Tree,
Unloosed that belt which marked a paladin,
And stripped the body of its royal raiment.
Then first of all they laved in tepid water
The bosom, neck, and beard right tenderly,
Burned musk and ambergris before the corpse,
And sewed up all the gashes of its wounds,
Poured o'er the head rose-water and disposed
The purest camphor over all the form.
Then, when they had arrayed it in brocade,
They requisitioned roses, musk,and wine.
The man who sewed the shroud shed tears of blood
On combing out that beard of camphor hue.
Two stretchers scarce sufficed to hold the body;
Was it a man's trunk or a shady tree's?
They fashioned out of teak a goodly coffin
With golden nails and ivory ornaments.
The apertures were all scaled up with pitch,
Which they o'erlaid with music and spicery.
They drew Zawara's bodly from the pit
Washed it, sewed up the gashes that they found,
And placed it in a shroud made of brocade.
They sought about to find an elmtree-trunk,
And skilful carpenters went forth and cut
Some mighty planks therefrom. They drow the body
Of Rakhah out of the pit - that steed whose like
None had beheld on earth - a two days' task,
And then they hoised it on an elephant.
Kabulistan up to Zabulistan
Was like a place of public lamentation,
And men and women stood there in such throngs
That none had room to move, and so they passed
The coffins on from hand to hand and thought,
Such were their multitudes, the travail wind.
They reached Zabul in two days and a night,
And neither bier was seen to tonch the ground.
The death of Rustam filled the age with wailing;
Thou wouldst have said: "The very waste is moved!"
They made the charnel-house within a garden,
And raised the summit of it to the clouds.
They set two golden thrones there face to face;
It was the blessed hero's place of rest.
Then all of those who were his servitors,
The free by birth and honest-hearted slaves,
When they had mingled musk and roses poured them
Out at the elephantine hero's feet,
And every one exclaimed: "0 famous man
Why need'st thou gifts of musk and ambergris?
Thou hast no part in sovereignty and feast,
No longer toilest in the battle-tide,
No longer lavishest thy gold and treasure.
In sooth such things are worthless in thy sight.
Be happy now in jocund Paradise,
For God compacted thee of manliness
Having closed the charnel's door
They left him there. That famed, exalted Lion
Had passed away. Beside the door they made
A tomb for Rakhsh as of a horse upstanding.
What wouldst thou with this Wayside Inn - this gain
Of treasure first but in the end of pain?
Serve God or Ahriman yet still thou must,
Though made of iron, crumble into dust,
Yet lean to good while here thou shalt abide,
Elsewhere perchance thou wilt be satisfied.
How Faramarz led an Army to avenge Rustam and
slew King of Kabul
When Faramarz had made an end of mourning
He led his whole host onward to the plains,
And having opened Rustam's dwelling-place
Provided pay and outfit for the troops.
At dawn the noise of clarions arose,
Of kettledrums withal and Indian bells.
Kabul-ward from Zabul he led a boat
That veiled the sun. The ruler of Kabul
Heard of those chieftains of Zabulistan,
And massed his scattered troops. The earth grew iron,
Air azure-dim. He marched 'gainst Faramarz,
And light departed from the sun and moon.
When those two hosts confronted, and the world
Rang with the shouting of the warriors,
Within the woods the lions lost their way
Frayed by the throng of steeds, the dust of troops.
A wind arose, the azure dust-clouds whirled,
And earth seemed one with heaven. Faranrarz
Came forth and charged the centre of the foe,
The world was darkened by the horsemen's dust,
The monarch of Kabul was taken captive,
And all his mighty armament dispersed.
The warriors of Zabulistan like wolves
Attacked the enemy on every side,
Pursuing those that fled away, and slaying
So many warriors and haughty chiefs
Of Sind and Hind, that all the field turned mire,
And all the troops of Hind and Sind were scattered
They gave up land and home, abandoning
Both wife and child. The monarch of Kabul,
All bathed in blood, was flung within the tower
Upon an elephant, and Faramarz
Led on his army to the hunting-ground
Whereon the pits were dug. He bare with him
The foe in chains and two score more withal -
Kin to the king and idol-worshippers.
He tore the monarch's back to strips until
The bones showed bare, then hung him, foul with dust,
His mouth all blood, head-downward in a pit,
And burned his forty kin; then sought Shaghad,
There made a conflagration mountain-high,
And burned him with the plane and ground beneath.
The troops returning to Zabulistan
Took all the ashes of Kabul to Zal.
When Faramarz had cut the tyrant off
He made a Zabuli king in Kabul,
Where no one of the royal stock remained
That had not read the patent of his sword.
He came back from Kabul all seared and smarting
The brightness of his days was overcast.
Zabulistan and Bust lamented loudly,
And no one wore a robe unrent. The folk
All came to welcome Faramarz again
With bosoms lacerate and full of pain.
How Rudaba lost her wits through Mourning for Rustam
For one year there was mourning in Sistan,
And all the folk were clad in black and blue.
Upon a day Rudaba said to Zal:-
"Lament and wail because of Rustam's death,
For surely since the sun hath lit the world
No man hath seen a darker day than this."
"0 foolish woman ! " Zal replied to her,
"The pain of fasting passeth that of grief."
Rudaba was enraged and swore an oath:-
Henceforth Henceforth my body shall not sleep or eat.
It may be that my soul will see again
The soul of Rustam midst yon company."
She fasted for a week that she might hold
Communion with his soul. Her eye grew,dim
Through abstinence, her noble body pined.
For fear of harm slaves followed her about.
Ere that week ended she had lost her wits,
And in her frenzy sorrow turned to feasting.
She went forth to the kitchen in the night,
And saw a serpent lying dead in water.
With trembling eagerness she seized its head,
And was about to eat. The attendants snatched it,
And clasping her withdrew her from that place
Of unclean hands, bare her to her apartments,
And, having set her in her wonted seat,
Brought forth a trencher and set food thereon.
She ate of all till she was satisfied,
And then they spread soft garments under her.
She slept and rested from her care and trouble,
From grief at death and sorrows of possession.
As soon as she awoke she asked for food,
And they provided her abundantly.
When sense returned to her she said to Zal:-
"That word of thine consorted well with wisdom;
Grief at a death and feast and festival
Are one to him that cateth not nor sleepeth.
Our son hath gone and we shall follow him.
Trust we the Maker's justice."
Her treasures on the poor, and prayed to God:-
"0 Thou who art above both name and place!
Cleanse from all fault the soul of matchless Rustam,
Assign him Paradise for his abode,
And joyance of the fruits that here he sowed."
How Gushtasp gave the Kingdom to Bahman and died
Since matchless Rustam's life hath ceased to be
I will present another history.
When fortune's face grew louring to Gushtasp
He called Jamasp before the throne, and said:-
"Time hath inspired in me so much remorse
About the matter of Asfandiyar
That all my days are passed unjoyously,
And I am troubled by the vengeful stars.
Now after me Bahman will be the Shah,
With Bishutan as confidant. Reject not
Bahman's behests, but serve him loyally,
And be his guide in every circumstance,
For he is worthy of the crown and throne."
The Shah then gave Bahman the treasury-key,
And, sighing deeply, said: "My work is over;
The floods have overtopped me. I have sat
As Shah for six score years and never seen
My peer; and now do thou bestir thyself,
Be just to every one and, being just,
Exempt from grief. Make glad and keep the wise
Near thee, but make the world dark to thy foes,
And follow right for that ne'er causeth loss.
I who have undergone much pain and travail
Resign to thee throne, diadem, and treasure."
He spake, his lifetime ended, and his past
Bare I no more fruit. They made a charnel-house
Of ebony and ivory, and hung
His crown above his throne. He had his share
Of treasure and of toil, and, after joying
In sweet and antidote, found bane at last.
If such is life whence do its pleasures spring?
Death equaleth the beggar and the king.
Enjoy thy having, shun ill-enterprise,
And hearken to the sayings of the wise.
My fellow-travellers have gone while I
Remain and tell at large of days gone by.
Each traveller hath reached his place of rest,
And, if he sought the good, achieved his quest.
Let virtue, virtue only, grasp thy hand
That thou mayst list to those that understand.
The doings of Bahman I now essay,
And will recount thee things long passed away.
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